The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary American Producers of all time. This list of famous American Producers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of American Producers.
With an HPI of 81.85, Walt Disney is the most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 158 different languages on wikipedia.
Walter Elias Disney (; December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American animator, film producer, and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, he holds the record for most Academy Awards earned and nominations by an individual. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and have also been named as some of the greatest films ever by the American Film Institute. Born in Chicago in 1901, Disney developed an early interest in drawing. He took art classes as a boy and took a job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio (now The Walt Disney Company) with his brother Roy. With Ub Iwerks, he developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years. As the studio grew, he became more adventurous, introducing synchronized sound, full-color three-strip Technicolor, feature-length cartoons and technical developments in cameras. The results, seen in features such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio, Fantasia (both 1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942), furthered the development of animated film. New animated and live-action films followed after World War II, including the critically successful Cinderella (1950), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Mary Poppins (1964), the last of which received five Academy Awards. In the 1950s, Disney expanded into the amusement park industry, and in July 1955 he opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California. To fund the project he diversified into television programs, such as Walt Disney's Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club. He was also involved in planning the 1959 Moscow Fair, the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the 1964 New York World's Fair. In 1965, he began development of another theme park, Disney World, the heart of which was to be a new type of city, the "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" (EPCOT). Disney was a heavy smoker throughout his life and died of lung cancer in 1966 before either the park or the EPCOT project were completed. Disney was a shy, self-deprecating and insecure man in private but adopted a warm and outgoing public persona. He had high standards and high expectations of those with whom he worked. Although there have been accusations that he was racist or antisemitic, they have been contradicted by many who knew him. Historiography of Disney has taken a variety of perspectives, ranging from views of him as a purveyor of homely patriotic values to being a representative of American imperialism. Widely considered to be one of the most influential cultural figures of the 20th century, Disney remains an important presence in the history of animation and in the cultural history of the United States, where he is acknowledged as a national cultural icon. His film work continues to be shown and adapted, the Disney theme parks have grown in size and number to attract visitors in several countries and his company has grown to become one of the world's largest mass media and entertainment conglomerates.
With an HPI of 72.30, Harvey Weinstein is the 2nd most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.
Harvey Weinstein (; born March 19, 1952) is an American convicted sex offender and former film producer. He and his brother, Bob Weinstein, co-founded the entertainment company Miramax, which produced several successful independent films including Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989); The Crying Game (1992); Pulp Fiction (1994); Heavenly Creatures (1994); Flirting with Disaster (1996); and Shakespeare in Love (1998). Weinstein won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love and also won seven Tony Awards for plays and musicals including The Producers, Billy Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County. After leaving Miramax, Weinstein and his brother Bob founded The Weinstein Company (TWC), a mini-major film studio. He was co-chairman, alongside Bob, from 2005 to 2017. In October 2017, following sexual abuse allegations dating back to the late 1970s, Weinstein was dismissed from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. More than 80 women made allegations of sexual harassment or rape against Weinstein by October 31. The allegations sparked the #MeToo social media campaign and subsequent sexual abuse allegations against many powerful men around the world; this phenomenon is referred to as the "Weinstein effect". Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape in New York in May 2018, and was found guilty of two of five felonies in February 2020. Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison, and began serving his sentence at Wende Correctional Facility. On July 20, 2021, he was extradited to Los Angeles to face further charges at a subsequent trial, where he was found guilty of three of seven charges on December 19, 2022. He was sentenced to 16 years in the Los Angeles trial, and his California prison term must be served separately from his New York sentence.
With an HPI of 63.10, Phil Spector is the 3rd most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.
Harvey Phillip Spector (December 26, 1939 – January 16, 2021) was an American record producer and songwriter, best known for his innovative recording practices and entrepreneurship in the 1960s, followed, decades later, by his two trials and conviction for murder in the 2000s. Spector developed the Wall of Sound, a production style that is characterized for its diffusion of tone colors and dense orchestral sound, which he described as a "Wagnerian" approach to rock and roll. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in pop music history and one of the most successful producers of the 1960s.Born in the Bronx, Spector moved to Los Angeles as a teenager and began his career in 1958, as a founding member of The Teddy Bears, for whom he penned, “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” a U.S. number-one hit. In 1960, after working as an apprentice to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Spector co-founded Philles Records, and at the age of 21, he became the youngest-ever U.S. label owner at the time. Dubbed the "First Tycoon of Teen", Spector came to be considered the first auteur of the music industry, for the unprecedented control he had over every phase of the recording process. He produced acts such as The Ronettes, The Crystals, and Ike & Tina Turner, and typically collaborated with arranger Jack Nitzsche and engineer Larry Levine. The musicians from his de facto house band, later known as "The Wrecking Crew,” rose to industry fame through his hit records. In the early 1970s, Spector produced the Beatles' Let It Be and several solo records by John Lennon and George Harrison. By the mid-1970s, Spector had produced eighteen U.S. Top 10 singles, for various artists. His chart-toppers included the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road,” and Harrison's "My Sweet Lord.” Spector helped establish the role of the studio as an instrument, the integration of pop art aesthetics into music (art pop), and the genres of art rock and dream pop. His honors include the 1973 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, for co-producing Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh, a 1989 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a 1997 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2004, Spector was ranked number 63 on Rolling Stone's list of the greatest artists in history.Following one-off productions for Leonard Cohen (Death of a Ladies' Man), Dion DiMucci (Born to Be with You), and the Ramones (End of the Century), from the 1980s on, Spector remained largely inactive, amid a lifestyle of seclusion, drug use, and increasingly erratic behavior. In 2009, after two decades in semi-retirement, he was convicted of the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison, where he died, in 2021.
With an HPI of 62.46, Rick Rubin is the 4th most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.
Frederick Jay Rubin (, ROO-bin; born March 10, 1963) is an American record executive and record producer. He is a co-founder (alongside Russell Simmons) of Def Jam Recordings, founder of American Recordings, and former co-president of Columbia Records. Rubin helped popularize hip hop by producing records for acts such as the Beastie Boys, Geto Boys, Run-DMC, Public Enemy, and LL Cool J. He has also produced hit records for acts from a variety of other genres, predominantly heavy metal (Danzig, Metallica and Slayer), alternative rock (the Cult, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, the Strokes and Weezer), hard rock (Audioslave and Aerosmith), nu-metal (Linkin Park, System of a Down), and country (Johnny Cash and the Chicks). In 2007, Rubin was called "the most important producer of the last 20 years" by MTV and was named on Time's list of the "100 Most Influential People in the World".
With an HPI of 61.98, Jerry Bruckheimer is the 5th most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.
Jerome Leon Bruckheimer (born September 21, 1943) is an American film and television producer. He has been active in the genres of action, drama, comedy, fantasy, and science fiction. Bruckheimer has produced films like Flashdance, Top Gun, The Rock, Crimson Tide, Con Air, Armageddon, Enemy of the State, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, Kangaroo Jack, as well as the Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys, Pirates of the Caribbean, and National Treasure franchises. Many of his films have been co-produced by Paramount and Disney, while many of his television series have been co-produced by Warner Bros. and CBS Studios. In July 2003, Bruckheimer was honored by Variety as the first producer in Hollywood history to produce the top two highest-grossing films of a single weekend: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Bad Boys II. In 2023, Top Gun: Maverick earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture. His best known television series are CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, CSI: Cyber, Without a Trace, Cold Case, Lucifer, and the American version of The Amazing Race. For the lattermost, he won ten Primetime Emmy Awards. At one point, three of his TV series ranked among the top 10 in the U.S. ratings—a unique feat in television.Bruckheimer is also the co-founder and co-majority owner (along with David Bonderman) of the Seattle Kraken, the 2021 expansion team of the National Hockey League.
With an HPI of 60.02, David O. Selznick is the 6th most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.
David O. Selznick (born David Selznick: May 10, 1902 – June 22, 1965) was an American film producer, screenwriter and film studio executive who produced Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940), both of which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture. He also won the Irving Thalberg Award at the 12th Academy Awards, Hollywood's top honor for a producer, in recognition of his shepherding Gone with the Wind through a long and troubled production and into a record-breaking blockbuster. The son and son-in-law of movie moguls Lewis J. Selznick and Louis B. Mayer, Selznick served as head of production at R.K.O. Radio Pictures and went on to become one of the first independent movie producers. His first wife was Mayer's daughter Irene Selznick, who became a highly successful Broadway producer after their divorce, and his second wife was Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Jones.
With an HPI of 58.90, Albert R. Broccoli is the 7th most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Albert Romolo Broccoli ( BROK-ə-lee; April 5, 1909 – June 27, 1996), nicknamed "Cubby", was an American film producer who made more than 40 motion pictures throughout his career. Most of the films were made in the United Kingdom and often filmed at Pinewood Studios. Co-founder of Danjaq, LLC and Eon Productions, Broccoli is most notable as the producer of many of the James Bond films. He and Harry Saltzman saw the films develop from relatively low-budget origins to large-budget, high-grossing extravaganzas, and Broccoli's heirs continue to produce new Bond films.
With an HPI of 58.75, Joel Silver is the 8th most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.
Joel Silver (born July 14, 1952) is an American film producer.
With an HPI of 58.43, Gene Roddenberry is the 9th most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.
Eugene Wesley Roddenberry Sr. (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter, producer, and creator of Star Trek: The Original Series, its sequel spin-off series Star Trek: The Animated Series, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, where his father was a police officer. Roddenberry flew 89 combat missions in the Army Air Forces during World War II and worked as a commercial pilot after the war. Later, he followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Los Angeles Police Department, where he also began to write scripts for television. As a freelance writer, Roddenberry wrote scripts for Highway Patrol, Have Gun – Will Travel, and other series, before creating and producing his own television series, The Lieutenant. In 1964, Roddenberry created Star Trek, which premiered in 1966 and ran for three seasons before being canceled. He then worked on other projects, including a string of failed television pilots. The syndication of Star Trek led to its growing popularity; this, in turn, resulted in the Star Trek feature films, on which Roddenberry continued to produce and consult. In 1987, the sequel series Star Trek: The Next Generation began airing on television in first-run syndication; Roddenberry was intimately involved in the initial development of the series but took a less active role after the first season due to ill health. He continued to consult on the series until his death in 1991. In 1985, he became the first TV writer with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he was later inducted into both the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Years after his death, Roddenberry was one of the first humans to have their ashes carried into earth orbit. The popularity of the Star Trek universe and films has inspired films, books, comic books, video games and fan films set in the Star Trek universe.
With an HPI of 57.80, Aaron Spelling is the 10th most famous American Producer. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Aaron Spelling (April 22, 1923 – June 23, 2006) was an American film and television producer and occasional actor. His productions included the TV series Family (1976–1980), Charlie's Angels (1976–1981), The Love Boat (1977–1986), Hart to Hart (1979–1984), Dynasty (1981–1989), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990–2000), Melrose Place (1992–1999), 7th Heaven (1996–2007), and Charmed (1998–2006). He also served as producer of The Mod Squad (1968–1973), The Rookies (1972–1976), and Sunset Beach (1997–1999). Through his production company Spelling Television, Spelling holds the record as the most prolific television producer in US television history, with 218 producer and executive producer credits. Forbes ranked him the 11th top-earning deceased celebrity in 2009.
Pantheon has 72 people classified as producers born between 1870 and 1986. Of these 72, 42 (58.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living producers include Harvey Weinstein, Rick Rubin, and Jerry Bruckheimer. The most famous deceased producers include Walt Disney, Phil Spector, and David O. Selznick. As of April 2022, 12 new producers have been added to Pantheon including Marcus Loew, Robert Chartoff, and Leon Schlesinger.
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Which Producers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Producers since 1700.